Spondylosis is age-related change of the bones (vertebrae) and discs of the spine. These changes are often called degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis.
These changes don't always cause symptoms. But they are a common cause of spine problems that can range from mild to severe.
As your body ages, the discs between the bones of the spine become stiffer and can break down. The bones also wear down and can grow bone spurs.
When this condition is in the lower back, it's called lumbar spondylosis.
There are often no symptoms. When there are symptoms, back pain and stiffness are the main ones. They are usually worse in the morning and get better throughout the day.
If bony growths are pushing against a nerve root or the spinal cord, you may have numbness, tingling, weakness, or an aching, shooting pain in your buttock and leg.
Lumbar spondylosis can usually be diagnosed based on your history of symptoms, a physical exam, and imaging tests. These are tests that produce various kinds of pictures of your body. Such tests include:
Pain and stiffness are first treated with ice or heat and with over-the-counter medicines.
Physical therapy and daily exercises can be helpful.
If these treatments aren't helping you enough, you may need other treatments. This might be more likely to happen if you have spine problems such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. In some cases, a shot of medicine in the joint area may offer short-term relief. For a severe problem, surgery may be an option.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofMarch 21, 2017
Current as of:
March 21, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017